edgarallenfrog: various pics of harvey milk (viva la vie boheme)
Well, Easter started off with a bang in Lillianland. At 12:45 PM we were so tired and cranky at work that we finally got on each others nerves enough to snap. Seriously, we were all so pissy tonight at work that about halfway through our first break, world war III started in the break room. First I started talking to Coley, and what I said came out snappier than I meant it, so he flipped out on me and leaned into my face and told me I needed to chill out, and like always that pissed me off more than anything, so instead of apologizing to him like I should have, I laid the fuck into him about how I wasn't snapping, and if he was going to take everything I say the wrong way, then he can go talk to someone else. At this point, he starts yelling and I start yelling back, and then Cindy, the older lady who gives me a ride starts screaming (and I mean SCREAMING) at us to shut the fuck up, and I tell her not to scream at me, and she starts screaming that I started the whole thing by snapping in the first place, and I lost it again and started screaming at her that if she didn't like it, she could leave the break room, and she said "I don't have to," and I said "Well you don't have to be a bitch either, but you're doing that." I know, really extremely mature of us, right? We didn't speak to each other for a few hours, then I decided to be a grown up and apologize to Coley even though he was a prick about it (he's like "you always scream." I beg to differ. Honey, you don't know the first thing about screaming if you think I always do it) and then I apologized to Cindy and she said it was a stupid thing for her to get mad about in the first place (she didn't apologize, but she never does, so that was close enough). You should have seen us though guys, we looked like we belonged in a John Woo movie, standing there facing off like that. The only thing missing were guns pointed at each other (good thing we didn't have access to any).

So I finished busting my ass in baby with my fucking three skids and two L-carts full of stock, and then I helped Jaylynn finish pet food, and then we had to help Grocery finish up since their team can't ever finish anything (in their defense though, Patrick, the genius GM, scheduled like half their team off last night because of the holiday and then when they got a huge load in and they were struggling to finish, he screamed at them all night, which made them even pissier and less likely to work, so when Patrick left we all breathed a sigh of relief and rejoiced, and the good mood spread so much we didn't even mind too much helping Grocery finish their work for once even though Grocery is a really tedious department and I'd almost rather eat my own vomit than work there...seriously, have respect for grocery stockers, guys, they have a really shitty job).

Fun times were had by all. Then I headed off for church, and it's weird, since I haven't been to church on Easter since I went to the roller rink church a zillion years ago. It was interesting. The sermon was rhyming today (I think the priest was getting creative...either that or she was breaking out the communion wine early, but it was fun, kind of like Dr. Seuss and John Donne had a love child who liked to write sermons) and the lighting of the candles was cool. It was actually kind of creepy being in church and feeling an air of formality like that. It made me nervous and I freaked out for the first time in a long time, stumbling all over myself when I went up to take communion. Actually, speaking of that, remember that time I felt so awkward because the usher didn't welcome me up for communion on a few Sundays last year and early this year? Well this Sunday it happened again, and when he turned away without ushering me forward, I said "I guess I'm not going up then" out loud (whoops...I need a day of silence like, every day) and he stopped, turned around, and ushered me up. Um...I meant to think that in my head and not say it aloud, dude, sorry...

All those things were cool. The coolest thing, though, was a little unexpected, so I'm going to try and explain it coherently. Throughout Lent, people were given the opportunity to donate money to buy flowers in memory of someone who had died or someone influential in their lives or whatever, and the names they dedicated would be printed in the bulletin for the Easter service. Well, Colleen Dice donated some flowers in memory of "My beloved Dan," and that really brought tears to my eyes (Dan Dice really was a cool guy who died a month back, if you'll remember, and he'll really be missed). So I was reading about that and thinking about how the whole sermon, the whole service, the whole day really, is a way to remind ourselves that death doesn't have to be the end anymore. We read my favorite gospel passage out of John chapter 20, and when I read how Mary went with the others, found the tomb empty on Easter morning, and stayed when the others ran away, looking into the tomb because that was the last place she saw Jesus, I remembered again how hollow and empty she must have felt. Not only was Jesus dead and gone, but now she couldn't even anoint his body like she'd planned. When she says in verse 13 "They have taken my Lord away and I don't know where they have put him," I know that feeling. I remember the joy I felt when I first "found Jesus," and I remember when the years came and wore that joy away to nothing, and I remember going back again and again to the churches that were like tombs, looking for Jesus there, knowing He was gone but looking anyway because that was the last place I'd seen Him and I didn't know where else to go. Reading the rest of that passage, when verse 17 has Jesus telling Mary that death didn't take him, that death isn't really the end anymore, I read her words in verse 18 "I have seen the lord!" with a sense of how much joy that must have brought her. "Hey guys, it's not over, death isn't the end anymore, Jesus is alive, we can go on even after we die now because there is hope!"

...

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18 has always been one of my favorite bible passages, and I've always read it whenever someone close to me has died, because something about it gave me hope. It says:

"13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words."

Now, it probably makes sense to you that this would give me hope, since it's all full of those Christian phrases about having hope because God will bring those who have died back and we'll all meet in the air, and we'll all be with the Lord forever and all that. But especially now, I sometimes wonder with all my crying and weeping if I'm mourning like those who have no hope. I'll admit, I often feel dark and hopeless. there's a lot of dark and evil and no one seems to want to acknowledge that or they want to chastise me for admitting that it exists and it has an affect on me, and hiding the darkness and ignoring it have never done anything but make it eat away at me more. I don't think that makes me "double minded," and if it does, then I can't be a Christian, because this is the way I am, right or wrong, and this is the way I'm going to be. Seriously, when that guy said I was double minded and I needed to read more resources so I wouldn't be so unstable, that really hit me in the gut, because no matter who I am or where I am I'm always going to be someone who thinks and mourns and weeps and feels very deeply. If God can't accept me that way, then he can't accept me at all, because this is who I really am, and I'm too tired to pretend I'm not anymore. These have been some pretty dark days since I heard that. It's been such that there's a few words that I actually decided to post, then thought better of that decision, because I figured it was too dark to share it here, but just so you can get a glimpse, here's an excerpt:

I feel like Armageddon. Like I'm standing alone in a world that just blew up, was leveled. Everything is gone. There is no logic, there is no order, there are no people, there is no hope, no peace, no chance. There is nothing, except me. Standing in the middle of this vast nothingness, naked and broken and torn about and exhausted. Hurt and angry and sad and upset but too exhausted to even be able to feel those emotions anymore. The walls have come down and there is nothing left. There is no way to rebuild the world that I once knew. The logic that I once had. There isn't even any way to provide for the basic human needs right now. No water, no food, no oxygen. Yet, I'm alive waiting for this slow painful death to take me away. Just waiting, with nothing to do but be at the mercy of the nothingness that now exists. I will not live beyond five minutes without oxygen, beyond five days without water in this hell, beyond five weeks without food. And I can't just go "find" these things, or "make" these things, or "get" these things, because in this world that is simply demolished, water, oxygen and food do not even exist. There are not even ideas that the mind can comprehend... this thing that's left over is so far from the world I used to live in that the idea of oxygen is not even comprehensible. Who the hell are you to tell me I've given up. I'm not even talking about my house being burned to the ground, I'm talking about the WORLD BLOWING UP. Humans can't fix that, let alone a single broken and lost human. There isn't anything to fix, there isn't a chance, there is nothing. There is only pain and confusion and this huge void of nothingness. There is pain and suffering and hurt. There is lonesomeness and filth and despair. There is torture. This is where I am. Where all the bad is... where there is so much bad that there isn't even room for a glimmer of what might be hope's third cousin or an image of faith's ex-husband's stepmother. Don't tell me I'm quitting. I am at the impossible right now. Even death is more comforting.

Yeah, cheery stuff. I like what this is saying, though, in spite of how harsh and violent and dark it is. I think sometimes that my life has been so hard (and there are those who've had it far worse, I'm not saying there aren't, but I've had really really bad things happen to me) and sometimes when people act like where I am isn't enough, where I'm clawing with my fingernails bloody and dirty, admitting all the fear and pain but trying anyway, and they want me to be better, they tell me I'm all wrong and I need to read this or pray this or do this to change because somehow I'm not good enough or christian enough for them where I'm at...that hurts. I'd rather you stab me in the face than say something like that to me. I feel like the gospel doesn't have room for people who've experienced my kind of pain because everyone else is all full of shit things I have to do to get rid of my pain, but my pain is there anyway, in spite of their brilliant ideas, and sometimes I want to shake them or scream at them "hey, you don't get it, if you knew how it took every ounce of strength I have within me to get myself to this point and keep me here instead of slitting my wrists, you wouldn't say that...if you had any idea how hard this was, you'd be less of a douchebag..." and I try to believe that, but sometimes survivors who've gone through this kind pain are the worst offenders in the "you should do this and this and this and you're not even close to good enough" category. Talk about losing hope in humanity.

But here's the thing. Those verses in 1 Thessalonians (remember them? I haven't forgotten, it's all connected, I swear) have always given me hope...but I never wanted anyone to know why, because it seems like a really stupid reason. Those verses give me hope because when I was a kid, I was reading this book. It was one of those skeezy Christian propaganda things, some third-rate version of the Left Behind series, where all the Christians have been taken up to heaven and some survivors are left behind, and it's like a zombie movie kind of, because this group of people meets in the wilderness and they find an abandoned house and some food and try to survive, but one dies of a disease, and soon the government catches up to the rest and drags them off one by one to have them deny Jesus, and the two who deny Jesus get to live, but the rest of them die. I know, subtle, right? But this one guy in the group, he's always been the one they look up to, but he's always been kind of wishy-washy and he's never really wanted to be a leader and he's always kind of blown it all off, but they have a bible with them in this abandoned house and he reads it, and over time, he changes. So much so that at the end, when he refuses to deny Jesus and they're dragging him off, he shouts out that passage from 1 Thessalonians (I know, right, how slow were they dragging him that he had time to spit out all those verses?) But I never could get that picture out of my head. Somehow, those words changed that guy so much that in his final act before being dragged off to be tortured and killed, he thinks not for himself, but for the rest who are left alive, and he shouts some words to try to give them hope. If those words were that powerful to him, they must hold some kind of special power, and I never forgot that, even after all these years, even though it sounds silly now.

The power of those words is this: Guess what? Death isn't so big. It's not so bad. Even John Donne knew it (and he's been dead a long time now) "Death be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so." Death is scary, it's hard, and it seems like the end because we can't see anything beyond it. But there IS something that comes after death. Even in the practical sense that after we die, other people will still be alive, and we can do things now to help them so that if we're gone, they can hold on and be strong and have hope, too. Even Harvey Milk (you know I'm never going to shut up about him) left his story behind in case he died because he wanted it to be told. He wanted people to know that they could make a difference, and he wanted his words to live on after he was gone, and I'm so glad they did, because they give me hope, too. When I was 12, in my little backwoods conservative town, I found a book about Harvey Milk in the library (how in hell did THAT happen?) and I read it over and over and took notes and read THOSE over and over, because whatever else he did, Harvey Milk knew how to deliver a fucking speech. He talked about "hope" like it was a real thing, like it could really keep people going when they had nothing else, and that's what Jeremiah is talking about in Jeremiah 29:11, a hope and a future, something to live for when all we can do is tremble at the thought of death. Harvey Milk's been gone awhile (not as long as John Donne, but a good amount of time) and his story still reaches people and helps them keep going. I know this because it helps me.

What all these things have in common (Easter, Dan Dice's flowers, 1 Thessalonians, Jeremiah, John Donne, and Harvey Milk) is the message of hope; the idea that death is not the end. Yeah, you're going to die. Everybody dies. But it's ok, because LIFE is breaking into all this death, the kingdom can come on earth as it is in heaven, you don't have to settle for just GOING to heaven, you can help BUILD it here and now by having hope and sharing hope with other people. Help them keep going. Hold them up just like they hold you, and when people tell you that you're double minded because they don't like what you have to say, plug your ears and sing or quote John Donne or watch "Milk" or do whatever you have to do to remember that the empty tomb means that death doesn't have to be the end, and that there will be darkness but there will also be dawn, and you can't have one without the other, and you have to keep going because if you don't, you give up before you give yourself a chance to live, to have hope, and to share it with others. That's what Easter is all about.

1 Corinthians 15: 54-58

"54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
55 "Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Listen to that! "oooh, death, where is your victory? You're so scary! Ooga-booga death, I'm not afraid of you! Nyah nyah!" Dan Dice lives on, though he is gone. Harvey Milk lives on, though he is gone. John Donne lives on, though he is gone. I will live on, even when I am gone. There is hope. Here endeth the lesson.

I love you guys. Happy Easter.
edgarallenfrog: various pics of harvey milk (empty wallet)
My latest Long Winded is here: http://www.cinema-crazed.com/h-q/longwinded18.htm

In it, I talk about something hilarious that happened at work, involving "evil dolls." I expect to be fired soon. Good thing I have the whole next week off for surgery, huh? Seriously, read this one guys. It's religiously offensive in a lot of ways that will soon get me deported (straight to hell, as I'm told). It's about Islam...or wait, it's NOT really about that, but rather about stupid people who THINK they know anything about Islam. I'll admit, I'm ignorant of a lot of the beliefs of Islam, but I feel like a fucking EXPERT compared to some of my co-workers. Tee hee. *twirl hair*

At my doctor's appointment on Tuesday, I asked them to fill out medical leave paperwork for my job. Everyone in the office that I asked sent me to someone else. Repeat five times for a total of fifteen minutes. No, I'm not kidding (and it's a small office, they were literally sending me like, a foot away each time). Finally Jenn and I (she came with me; she's a peach) stood in front of the desk of a nurse who was supposed to fill out the paperwork while she ignored us for ten minutes. And there was no glass between us, I mean she sat inches from me ignoring me and reading a paper while I stood there like a moog waiting for her to acknowledge my presence. "Excuse me" did nothing to make her look up, so we stood there. Finally she took the paper from me, said she didn't have time to fill it out, and told me to come back later that day. I explained that I had to take a cab every time I came there, so I couldn't afford to do this, and she signed as if the world were on her shoulders and asked me for the fax number to my workplace. Jenn and I made three calls before we found this information. Fast forward to Thursday morning. After getting only minutes of sleep and then working a long and tiring 8 hour shift I inquired if my boss got my paperwork. He said he hadn't gotten it and we talked to the secretary (conveniently, she is a close relative of both Hitler and Satan). She said "No I didn't get it...and you should know better than to fax medical leave paperwork anyway, it's something that should be delivered by hand to avoid something like this happening." Thank you, oh great ray of sunshine and joy. After five minutes of trying to find out what to do (and having her basically call me an idiot five more times) I was literally in tears when I left. I called the doctor's office, cycling through five different people and hearing them say they didn't know which paper I was talking about. Finally, I got another form to fill out from work and yesterday morning called the doctor to tell them I was beating down their door until I filled it out. I reached someone who said she still had the original form I'd filled out, so she could give it to me since the doctor wasn't in to sign it if I had them fill it out again. I said great, then I called a cab. The cab driver told me it would be a half hour before she could pick me up. I said this was fine. ONE HOUR AND TWENTY MINUTES LATER I called HER to ask what was going on, and she said "I have three more people to drop off and then I have three timed calls and then I can get you. She told me NONE of this when I originally called her, and by now it's been almost three times the amount of time she said it would originally be, so the doctor's office is closing for lunch in ten minutes and I'm in tears again (remember, I've gotten almost no sleep this week period). I call another cab company and the guy says he'll be there in twenty minutes (the roads here are for shit with the snow and ice so I understand this, I only wish I'd called him ALMOST TWO HOURS AGO but their cab costs a dollar more, and as silly as that sounds, that's a lot of money for me right now but I can't physically take walking on the ice and snow to the doctor's office (though it would have been faster for me to walk at this point) so I call the doctor's office and say I need them to have the paper ready for me. She tells me it won't be possible, as they're closing for lunch. I snap (but still don't raise my voice) and say that I have to pay for an expensive cab to pick up paperwork because of her office's mistake, so they're going to have the paper ready whether they like it or not. she sighs and says it will be ready. 30 minutes later I'm standing at the desk while they all flit around and ignore me for ten minutes, then they can't find the paperwork so it takes another ten minutes for them to find it, then it takes another ten minutes for my cab to arrive and I'm in tears again watching my chance at sleep slip away. We go to Meijer, drop off the paperwork, and I wait for the cab, shivering so badly that even standing in front of the heater in the entryway doesn't keep me warm. When I finally get home, I can't get warm for the life of me. I'm so cold I'm crying under a pile of blankets on my bed. I need an electric blanket, but I don't have the budget for one right now.

The upshot is that my time off was approved, so even though I'm going to starve and my heat and electricity and phone are going to be turned off because I can't afford to take a week off of work to recover from my LEEP, I'll have the next week off anyway. I'm crossing my fingers that everything, food, money, bills, cancer, etc. works out. I ended up spending my $100 I said was for a rainy day (it's really snowy outside, does that count?) to pay the rent and buy some food since I'll have the week off and not be able to get paid for this. This morning I took that food money and bought a few groceries for the week I'll be off and when I got them home my bottle of vegetable oil was split open and leaked all over my groceries in the bag. I was in shock, and I said "I needed you..." and then just collapsed in tears on my kitchen floor in the puddle of oil. I really needed that oil. I needed more, but $1.79 was all I could afford (when did oil get so expensive? Jeeze). I haven't cried over lost/lack of food since I was a kid. I'm going to try and get another bottle of oil from the store tonight by bringing in the faulty bottle and my receipt. The other groceries were oily but they seem to be ok. I hope so, because they're all I've got.

The one plus to all this is that even though as it gets closer to Christmas Eve things get harder with missing Mike and all, I found out we're going to have two church services on Christmas Eve, one at like, 8 and one at midnight, so I'll be occupied on that day. Sigh.
edgarallenfrog: various pics of harvey milk (werk)


This isn't the best picture in the world, is it? I obsessively try to carry a camera around with me everywhere, and take pictures to document everything, including 2 year birthday parties at Burger King with hyperactive children who don't like to sit still, and because of this I don't always take the BEST pictures in the world, so some of you may be wondering why I'm posting this picture here.

On Monday, I got a voice mail from my friend Michelle saying that her father had died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack and she'd have to be going out of town. She was gone for several days, just coming back on Saturday. She got a hold of me and we talked for awhile on the phone that afternoon (I only got about 5 minutes of sleep due to this, but some things are more important than sleep). During this conversation she told me that since she's been estranged from her family for years she doesn't go to family functions, and she's pretty poor, so she doesn't own a camera, so she doesn't have any recent pictures of her dad (the last one she has is of him holding Aiden, her son, right after he was born 2 years ago) and she was really sad about that. We agreed to hang out and go shopping, so we got off the phone, and after I hung up I remembered that at Aiden's 2nd birthday party a month ago I took a picture of Michelle's dad. I didn't remember if the picture turned out well, but I decided to look it up and see. I viewed the picture online, and I admit, it's not the best. There's food all over the table, it's not centered, and my photography teacher would have nailed me for it, but it's got all three of them in the frame (Michelle, Aiden, and her dad Gary, and you can see how much they all look alike), they're all looking at the camera smiling, and I thought it might work, so I logged into my WalMart photo account and ordered some prints of it. When we went to the store I told Michelle about the prints, so we waited for them at the 1 hour photo counter, and the second she saw the prints she started bawling in the middle of the store. Aiden was in the cart, and he pointed at the pictures and said "Papa!" and then she and I BOTH started crying.

I think about this a lot, especially around the holidays. Ever since last year, I thought about how I don't have many pictures of my friends and I need some, because I want to document the memories I have before they slip away. I don't have any pictures of myself and some of my friends who have died, and that makes me sad. This is one of the reasons I never leave home without my camera now (or I try not to) because you never know. This is one of the reasons I was so sad when it broke...it's a tool I can use to capture those moments before they slip away. This is one moment I'm glad I got a chance to see.
edgarallenfrog: various pics of harvey milk (werk)
This started as a reply to [livejournal.com profile] vacheestfachee and then it spiraled out of control so it became its own entry. For those of you wondering about my friend Heidi, no, she's not dead, she's alive for now. She called me back. She says she's not ok, but she's alive, so at least that's good I guess. I always say where there's life there's hope, because I remember how I felt when my friend Michael killed himself last year, but I remember when life was nothing but pain and suffering and degradation and humiliation, and death would have been a relief to me then. the thing I think I'm learning is that as long as there's life, there's a chance at redemption, and with death that chance has passed. It's a little naive of me to say "where there's life there's hope" as though hope is always a good thing. I know that hope has caused me to be crushed more times than I can count, so hope isn't always something I want or need. I still know pain and sorrow and fear and sadness, but the thing is, if I'd ended my life any of those times I've wanted to, I can think of a lot of things that made me smile that I'd have missed if I weren't alive to see them. That keeps me going. I don't think Heidi gets that. I think she thinks I don't understand (and it's true that I haven't lived her life, but if there's anything I understand, it's pain and degradation and fear) and my friend Jenn says I'm not "uplifting" enough, I need to tell her that life is worth living, no wonder Heidi wants to kill herself if she hears me talk like this (Jenn is awesome sometimes and sometimes a brick to the mouth would do her nicely) but this is the truth, and this is all I have to give. It's what keeps me going. If you want a rainbow and a bunny and a flower go to someone else. This is what I've got.

So the poem is here because it makes me think of death, even small deaths like the death of my kitty Crowley, and see them in the context of something bigger than my understanding. Even those things and those people who are dead and gone, they're not lost or perished, because I loved them. I see Michael as lost a lot, because there are so many things I didn't get a chance to tell him; so much he missed out on. there would have been pain in his life, for sure, but there would have been good things too.

Coming on the heels of a day where my church meeting was good and I was more myself than I've been there in...well, ever, and a good GLWTFBBQ meeting where I brought baked goods and everyone liked them, I'm feeling pretty good right now, and not anything, not a shitty night at work or anyone else's thinking less of me because I'm not shitting rainbows and pissing sunshine, will bring me down from that. Because against my wishes and against everything I've learned and against my better judgment, I'm starting to hope again, and its not something I want because it's never EVER brought me anything but pain (and you can fuck off if you don't like that, it's the truth) it's here anyway.

And that makes me think of this:

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war and hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out and the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour and truth were trampled by scorn--
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn--
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

Since I'm on a L'engle kick lately, why not?

So many people talk about Jesus so much (I for one am sick and fucking tired of hearing about Jesus; I could never hear about him again and it would be too soon) that it becomes trite after awhile, blah blah blah, same old same old. The wonder and power are gone because the love; the meaning behind everything, the rope out of the chasm, the "I am" at the end of infinity, is gone, too. It's all a bunch of words that lose their meaning through repetition and people don't care about Jesus as much as they care about the mythology and rules and world they've built around him that's way bigger than he is anymore. They write Jesus out of the story but keep his name in there to try and convince everyone that hes still there. This poem I think gets it. If love weren't a risk, it wouldn't be worth anything, and saying that it's a risk, saying that you don't want to keep going but you do it anyway, that's not WRONG because it's TRUE and it's beautiful. So everyone who doesn't like me when I'm real can fuck the fuck off me, then. And they can fuck the fuck off Heidi too. Maybe give her a break for awhile. She needs it. We both do.

EDIT

I'm not mad at [livejournal.com profile] vacheestfachee or trying to say that she's one of the people who needs to lay the fuck off me and Heidi. On the contrary, she's one of the best people and best Christians I know and she looks more like Jesus than most of the rest of them put together. I know it sounds that way, but I didn't mean that, I just thought the poem expressed best how I feel and then tried to explain WHY the poem makes me feel the way I do...I was trying to explain how this poem touches me and I can't think about the church without thinking of a thousand arrows piercing my heart, so I was trying to head them off at the pass and respond to some of those arrows that have been slung at me most.
edgarallenfrog: various pics of harvey milk (werk)
The earth will never be the same again.

Rock, water, tree, iron, share this grief

As distant stars participate in pain.

A candle snuffed, a falling star or leaf,

A dolphin death, O this particular loss

Is Heaven-mourned; for if no angel cried,

If this small one was tossed away as dross,

The very galaxies then would have lied.

How shall we sing our love's song now

In this strange land where all are born to die?

Each tree and leaf and star show how

The universe is part of this one cry,

That every life is noted and is cherished,

And nothing loved is ever lost or perished.

~Madeline L'Engle
edgarallenfrog: various pics of harvey milk (werk)
I got out of work this morning and got home, made myself some food, and tried to relax. I was planning on posting some pictures to show you guys some cool things from around my apartment that make me happy, and my phone was showing I had no messages. About halfway through the day, I went to see if my camera was charged, and lo and behold, it is dead. Dead and gone. Nothing revives it, not taking out the battery, not resetting the system, nothing. In doing this, I noticed that my phone was also dead. I freaked a little and plugged them into another plug, which is how I noticed that my power strip wasn't working. The phone started charging, the camera remains dead. I got it to replace a camera that was stolen from me when I was mugged, and it's important to me, so I'm really sad about not having it. If anyone knows about cheaper digital cameras (under $200) that actually LAST and don't DIE I'd like to hear it.

One of the reasons I am so attached to my camera is that I make attempts to document my life so that I have memories recorded, memories of friends and good times and something to help me hold on when I want to let go (which is approximately every second of every day lately). My friend Michael killed himself on Christmas eve of last year and the anniversary coming up looms in my mind. I'm dreading it. I never got any pictures with him, so all I have are my memories, and that makes me sad. I feel like I didn't do enough to show him that life will go on and it's worth trying. I tried to get him to come to DSAGA but he was too scared, and it seemed like my words couldn't reach him, and I used to think I was good at this communicating thing, so I was devastated when I couldn't convince him life was worth living (I can't even convince myself sometimes, but I keep going). The only thing I find that IS worth living and fighting for is friendship and connection and a chance at hope, and I try to remind myself of that as much as I can.

In keeping with this, one of my Christmas gifts this year was to give my friend Heidi a photo album filled with pictures of she and I and Jenn and April and other people, pictures of fun times. Jenn and I and April signed the back pages under an announcement saying that we don't think Heidi is a failure, we love her as she is, and we're glad to be her friend. Well on Saturday night, I was arguing with her over instant messenger (I hate instant messenger) about how she's not a horrible person, and she should keep going, and people would miss her if she were gone. It's hard for me to describe how her family has their claws into her life, they affect every aspect of everything she does, and she's been unable to break away from them. She listens to everything they say, even up to ignoring a diagnosis from a doctor and not getting antidepressants because her family said she doesn't need them. You guys know I don't think antidepressants are a cure-all and I think they're overprescribed, but I still think you should give them a TRY before you form that opinion. I'm speaking from years of experience seeing myself and others not helped by pills. I'm sure there's a pill out there that could help me, but finding one is a bitch and if I had insurance like Heidi did, I'd STILL give it a try, even with my bad experiences. But her parents said she didn't need them, that the doctor was judging her, so she didn't take his advice. They don't even let her do laundry on her own, they tell her how it needs to be done, which cycles to use and which detergent, and she won't stray from their advice on anything. These may seem like little things, but they're not, she remains connected to them in even the smallest decisions, and it's killing her because she's never been able to get out on her own and make her own decisions without having them influence her every step and tell her what to think and believe. They're not the most stable people in the world either, they have a fairly bad marriage and they drag Heidi into every fight they have, and their other daughter is severely disabled and Heidi takes care of her and feeds her and cleans up after her and has since she was little, and if Heidi didn't come home for the weekend they'd lay a guilt trip on her about how her sister needed her and blah blah blah. Basically, she can't see how her family manipulates her, and any time you try to bring it up even in the slightest way she freaks out on you telling you her family is all she has.

Well, on Saturday her mother got into trouble for chatting with Heidi on instant messenger. Heidi of course blames herself. The library (her mom works at the FLITE, the library at FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY) has wanted to get rid of Heidi's mom for awhile because she starts trouble, so they're using the chat thing as an excuse, but Heidi still blames herself. she told me that she's a horrible person, that she's ruined her family's lives since she was born, and nothing will talk her out of it. I tried my best to talk to her, but then I had to go to work. I was away from the computer for awhile, but then on Monday, after finding out my phone wasn't charging and getting it charged up, I had a message from Heidi. It said "Lillian...bye." And she hung up. I freaked out and started frantically calling her. She didn't answer and she still hasn't answered. I don't know what she did or if she's even still alive and I feel horrible for not being there to talk to her, even if talking to her doesn't do much good, at least I'd have known that I tried. It broke my heart that with Mike, I didn't even get to try to talk to him.

So yesterday I still hadn't slept from the night before, after my shift I came home and all this started happening, so I'd been awake for over 24 hours at this point. I had my phone in my lap in case Heidi called me but I was so exhausted I fell asleep. While I was asleep, I got a phone call, but I incorporated the Alice Cooper ringtone into my dream somehow and didn't answer. When I woke up, I saw I had a voicemail and freaked. I checked it, and it was a message from my friend Michelle. She said "I know you don't care about me, but I wanted to tell you that I have to leave town because my father passed away suddenly, and I don't know when I'll be back. Bye." I was crushed by this and I called her back but she must have already left. I DO care about her, and just because I don't answer the phone doesn't mean that I don't care. In my mind I know this, but I still feel horrible for not answering the phone.

I feel like I haven't been there for my friends. I fell like even when I am there, I don't do much good for them. If any of you have read the book "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" it's about this teen who is weird (like me) and he documents his life in a series of letters from age fourteen to age sixteen, I think, and he tends to disassociate himself and be cautious about saying or doing anything because he'll ruin friendships, and I'm being vague but it's a good book and the guy is a lot like me in a lot of ways. Well near the end, one of his friends reprimands him for being so distant. She says something like "You always want to be the shoulder to cry on. Well what if people need another part of the body, like the legs or hands? You're afraid to actually DO anything that might help people, and as long as you hang back and are timid, you AREN'T a good friend." This is supposed to be a big turning point, but it always pissed me off. I've never been enough, and I've always been the person that I am. I may not always have the best methods for being a friend and for communicating, but in my kmind, if you don't like it, then get another fucking friend, don't berate me because you don't think I measure up because I don't do what you think I should do in every situation. I hated the guilt tripping. I've had enough of that to last thousands of lifetimes, and there's nothing bad you could say about me that I don't already say to myself every day over and over. Trying to stop that is hard as hell, and hearing it reinforced over and over by people saying I need to change this and this and this and everything about myself hurts far more than it could possibly ever help.

...

My mom's card saying "I know you probably don't care but I just want to let you know that Grandma died" really hurt me. I tried to tell Jenn about it and she said "I already told you that your grandma died months ago," and I don't remember that conversation, plus WE WERE DRUNK AT THE TIME so she aggravated me with that, but the thing is, the "you don't care" bothered me more than even knowing grandma was dead. I DO care about things. Either people accuse me of caring too much (Jenn says this all the time) or they say I don't care at all. Apparently, I can't win here, but then I've known that for years.

So I'm in a lot of physical pain, in a lot of emotional pain, I don't have a camera, my friend is probably dead, my other friend's father is dead, my grandma is dead, and there's nothing I can do about any of these things except feel really horrible. I'm tired and worn out. Praying feels even more like doing nothing but with words, but if you guys could pray for Heidi and Michelle, or send good thoughts, or light candles or something...I'd appreciate it. I'm trying to do all of those things. Thanks for listening.

moog

Sep. 15th, 2008 09:02 am
edgarallenfrog: various pics of harvey milk (suicidal)
50 Book Challenge Update

#33
"Dark Hollow" by Brian Keene

This book was good, but it was depressing. It left me in a funk for days. It made me think of you, [livejournal.com profile] bohemianeditor, because it's got a lot of magic in it, and it's respectful of how humans are connected to magic and nature, even when they don't realize it. You might like it (don't read it when it's not safe to be depressed though...I made that mistake). You might like it, too, [livejournal.com profile] peskipiksi. It's all about people going about their daily lives oblivious to the energy and powers surrounding them until they're forced to try to defeat a supernatural being, and then they band together and earn the power of true magic (no offense Harry Potter. I mean, I love you, but the idea of people taking objects close to them, like their wives' jewelry and using the love that these objects represent to fight evil is way more powerful to me than your spells). It was worth a read and I'm so impressed that this author could pull off the idea of a Satyr living in the woods surrounding a small town and make that ridiculous premise into something haunting and worth reading. I almost put the book down once I realized what it was about because I thought there was no way this guy could pull the story off without sounding like a tool, but the characters are engaging and I learned to love them.

Best lines:

"What do you expect to find in this house? A book called 'The Care and Feeding of Satyrs'?" (I laughed for like, 20 minutes).

"Our magic is stronger than yours." (I got chills).







So I went to church yesterday.

...

I went to St. Andrew's. It was hard. Usually I go to the 8 AM service because it's small and there's less people and no singing, but I got there late at like, 8:15 and no one was there but the new reverend, and she told me they were doing that annoying thing where they combine the 8 AM and the 10:15 AM service at 9 AM, so I wanted to turn around and run away (and I blurted that out loud because I'd had no sleep and thus my internal censor was on strike) but I stayed anyway. The people in charge of the Eucharist (Dr. Richard Griffen and his wife, if anyone remembers them from Ferris) pulled me and another new girl out of the congregation and had us help with the Eucharist. We had to carry stuff up to the altar during the service. Eep. I felt quite moogy but I survived. I actually went up and took communion (yes, I realize I'm calling it both "Eucharist" and "Communion." I can call it whatever I want. So here). Like I said, we have a new reverend. She looks pretty young but she's really enthusiastic and she seems really nice and caring. All the people there go out of their way to make someone feel welcome and they don't look forced when they're doing it, like they're pissy with you but pretending to care because Jesus is watching but as soon as they get home they're totally going to go off about how annoying you are). It's weird being he one who doesn't know what the fuck is going on, because I knew my old denominations inside and out. Now I mostly care about God, not the other shiny stuff, though I try to be respectful of it because it's cool to see how people connect to God or their idea of him (I keep forgetting to bow or kneel or make the sign of the cross when I'm supposed to, and then I whisper "shit" because I forgot, and then I feel bad for saying "shit" in church, not because I think God really minds if I say "shit," but because the old people will hear me and might die of a heart attack). But I feel a part of the words and the songs and the little wafer (that actually tastes like plaster mixed with skin, which is kind of unnerving) and the wine and the stained glass windows. I wish I weren't weird. Sometimes. I wish I was like normal people. I was so freaked out I cried during the service, but I made it. And I couldn't sleep all day afterward so I was a fucking wreck at work all night. But I couldn't shut my brain off. I hate that.

So it was good. And bad. And good. You know? Am I making any sense at all here? I hope so.

...

It's cold in here and it just occurred to me that I don't have a winter coat. Brett threw mine away over the summer because he said it made me look fat and it was my promise to him that I was going to move to Florida (every time I feel like a drama queen, I think of him and feel better). So I just looked for it and yeah, I remember now that I don't have one. Good thing I can pull some money out of my ass and buy one. JESUS CHRIST. Sorry Jesus. I'm praying. Really. Actually, I've been thinking about it, and I don't ever take the Lord's name in vain. I don't ever say "God" or "Goddamn" or "Jesus Christ" without an awareness of who they are and what they mean to me, and I say it half because I know saying it will remind me of them and keep me from smashing someone in the face with a brick or something. So I'll try to watch my language around people and apologize if they don't like me saying it or whatever (because words can hurt, and I don't have a right to ask people not to hurt me with their words if I don't give a shit what I say that might hurt them for some reason) but I don't take the Lord's name in vain, no matter what other people might think when they hear me say it. Me and God, we're cool. It's his fan club that I have problems with.

*changes into sweat shirt*

Much better. So...I don't know. I feel like there's a big lump in my throat, except it's in my chest too, and I don't know how to express myself in words. I miss my friend Michael. Winter is hard enough on me, but now I'll be reminded constantly of the anniversary of his suicide on Christmas Eve last year. When it gets colder, I think of him. It's hard. And I feel like a moog at the GLWTFBBQ meetings. As usual. I don't know what to say and I want to become a mime so I don't have to talk to people anymore. I feel like I'm saying a bunch of stupid stuff, but I don't mean it to be stupid. I want to be sincere. Sigh. I'll quit rambling now. Thank you for listening.

Well, one last thing. I kept thinking of this song and singing it at work last night and it reminds me of my friend [livejournal.com profile] bohemianeditor because she's one of the only people who will be honest about the troubles she may have in her relationship, and she and her husband [livejournal.com profile] odinkar have a lot of struggles to go through and they still work like hell to make things work, and that inspires me every day more than I can say. So I don't know if you like country music or not, but this song's for you. :-p

edgarallenfrog: various pics of harvey milk (werk)
In the last 24 hours...

-My good friend has started cutting herself

-My account at Fifth Third bank was overdrawn because my electric company debited my bill WEEK EARLY (I don't get paid until Friday so I can't do anything about it until then

-My debit card for Independent Bank was stolen (I've got the card canceled so no one can steal money and there's only $2 in the account, but still...I don't leave my wallet lying around so it had to be someone at work or someone at the DSAGA group and I don't think it was them and I don't know why someone didn't take the cash...not that I wanted them to do that or anything, but I don't get it...)

-I've come down with the death plague

-The state turned down my Plan First insurance so they want me to pay for my last pelvic exam which is $100 I don't have

I'm so tired. I haven't slept this week, and people have the fucking NERVE to say "whose fault is that?" It's my fault. I purposely didn't sleep for five days just so I could ask for your sympathy because your approval is the only thing I need to get by in life. I admit it, it's my evil scheme. you caught me. I lie awake and can't sleep and stare at the ceiling and think of everyone who doesn't get it, everyone who doesn't understand how a person can break and why they'd do something stupid, everyone who thinks they're better than everyone else so they can sit in their ivory tower and look down on the actions of others, and I'm even more tired. But I still can't sleep.

I miss having a boyfriend. I don't miss my particular boyfriend anymore, but I miss that feeling of hope I had when I had him. It felt good. Of course it was a lie because anything that ever made me feel good was a lie, but it felt good while it was here. It was the first time I felt like that, like I was desirable to someone, like I made someone light up just to see me. Again, lie. But it was nice to feel that way. Someone said this week that I should ask this girl out even though she wasn't my type, and I let slip that I don't have a type. To have a "type" you have to think you're worthy to pick who you want to have sex with, to choose who you find desirable. I've never been that worthy, never felt that way, I was just so happy someone chose me. Now I'm back to where I was before, but I can't go back to not caring like I did before because it hurts so much to have that and then have it taken away from me and be undesirable again. To have hope like that, real hope and light and happiness for the first time and then go back to knowing it was all a lie and to kick yourself for being so stupid and letting yourself hope in a lie. It hurts so much that I can't even put it into words.

It's been almost 2 months since Mike killed himself. I haven't cried in public. I think people see that there's something wrong but I didn't think I showed what's really going on. My friend Jen said "crying's not going to bring him back" and it's not like I don't know that. But I'd give anything to FEEL most days. Well, to feel anything but tired and worthless. I even resorted to watching RENT" tonight to try and make myself cry so I could get some of it out. I'm desperate. It really seems like whatever hope I thought I had wasn't real ever, which I should be used to by now. But I'm not. Money shouldn't be important, right? It's only paper. But I don't have insurance to go to the doctor and don't have money to pay for anything and my wages are soon going to be garnished so I'll have even less. I don't have money for this shit. I tried talking to the electric company and they said it would take them 2 weeks to fix the mistake, and the bank said they wouldn't refund the fees because it wasn't their error, and everyone always says "They can't do that" but obviously they CAN since they ARE and they DID it to me before, back when people helpfully told me that the bank couldn't do it so I believed the fees would be refunded but they never were.

Mike gave me a lot of hope. He was so young that it seemed like the shit that screwed me up hadn't corrupted him yet and he had a future and he had hope and I looked forward to being his friend, to being there and watching while he grew into his sexuality. I just kind of blindly held onto that hope because I feel so purposeless, existing because I can, not because I want to. Everyone says shit like it's so easy. They see pain and they just want it to go away so they make it my fault that I'm in a bad place, because if I followed whatever magical plan they have I'd be able to move and have a place to live and being away from here would suddenly make everything ok and I'd be ok and somehow it's my fault I'm not (this isn't directed at anyone here even though one of you was talking about me leaving this town, I'm not talking to you, you're not the only one who's talked to me about this and I'm addressing the idea not the person, just speaking in general because I'm tired and my nerve endings are worn past the breaking point, so please don't say I'm talking about you, I'm not, I'm just talking because if I don't I'll explode). It's not what people think and the things people say I should do don't work and they're not even the issue, all I want is to fucking sleep and rest for a second, not have someone telling me it's my fault I'm not in a better place and it's not that easy and fuck moving anywhere, I'd be happy to have one fucking week where things let the fuck up and didn't come crashing down on me. One week where I could breathe and didn't worry where the next blow was going to come from. One week where I could sleep. One week where I didn't sit up and wish there was something I could have done to keep my friend from giving up. I want my friend back. I want a world that's safe for people to exist...or at lease people to tell me when they feel like they can't exist, so I can try to do something...but there's nothing I can do. Not that there's anything I can do even for my friend who started cutting herself this week. At least I haven't cut myself...but I feel like it's coming. I feel like I won't stop and I'm afraid but I don't know what to do. If I can scare her, to show her what it's like when you hate yourself so much you start destroying yourself, maybe I can get through to her. I don't know. I know for me, I always hated myself back before I started using knives to show it. I'm so fucking tired. I tried to make food but I can't eat it but I'm still fat anyway you'd think I eat the whole fucking world every night. At least I ate enough that I can stand up and walk and my head has stopped hurting. My throat still hurts so much I don't want to breathe though. I'm tired of feeling useless. I just want a purpose. Or some sleep. I'd take sleep. I'm terrified to sleep. Terrified of what will happen. What happened to me when I slept that made me so scared to ever sleep again? I know, but there's nothing I can do about it. Prescription sleeping pills didn't do anything so over the counter pills aren't going to do jack shit but I take them anyway until I want to vomit and my stomach churns and the sky keeps falling and I'm just a mess and I'm not even saying anything anymore just going around in circles. So I give up.

Holy Shit

Dec. 27th, 2007 08:42 pm
edgarallenfrog: various pics of harvey milk (werk)
Today has been...a day. It's been one of the hardest days I've ever had and fuck, for me, that's saying something.

So I get to work really tired and see my friend April and I can tell by her face something is wrong. I ask if she's ok, and she says "yeah" in this quiet voice that lets me know NO, she's NOT ok. But she takes some deep breaths and stares at the wall, so I give her some time and then she comes out with it. So a really good friend of mine committed suicide this week. I just found out. He's my friend April's adopted brother and he committed suicide on Christmas eve and she walked in and found him. I haven't seen her in a few days and now I found out why. I can't imagine how she's feeling. she cried at work and we hugged and I cried and it's really hard. She kept saying "We don't know why he did it...we don't know why..." And trust me, if anyone knows the reasons why someone might lose hope so badly they take their own life, I know. I know and I'm trying to respect that he made that decision because he felt some immense pain and didn't see a way out and I know it's never as easy as talking to someone about things but dammit, he never talked to me, he never talked to her. the hardest thing is thinking I'll never see him again. I keep expecting to see him walk in and wave and talk like he used to. But I'll never see his smile again. He'll never sit in my living room smoking pot and laughing and drinking vodka with me again, ever ever again. I feel lost.

*takes break because she can't see the screen through her tears anymore*

And the thing is guys...after I heard that, I decided I couldn't take it anymore and I was going to give up. I had everything planned out, what I was going to do as soon as I got home. This decision didn't come out of the blue either, I've been barely breathing for a few months now. I haven't really told anyone how hard this has been for me, but on top of the million and one things that combine to make my hope dim and go out (my failing health, often crippling anxiety, lack of insurance, lack of family, lack of money, lack of strength to keep going most days) I just got notified the creditors are not just going to take my tax refund (which I knew) but garnish my wages, too, and if they took the $200 they wanted, I couldn't pay my bills. And I got so scared and so tired of fighting. I've been fighting it for the past few days, trying to walk, trying to drag myself around and act human and it's so tiring that when I heard about Mike my first thought before the sadness set in was envy. I feel sick even saying it, but I fleetingly thought how he didn't have to struggle against the darkness anymore. I know it's selfish, don't tell me that. I know it's the most selfish thing in the world, I'm not telling you because it's right, I'm telling you because it's real. I know I should keep going. But I'm so fucking TIRED! I've been fighting the darkness all my life and lately my only thought has been what a waste I am, I was a waste of funds to go to college, I'm a waste just like my brother always told me because I can't even pay my bills and my debts and I was scared and sinking and trying to find something to hold onto that my first thought was yeah, I wanted to give up. Like Mike did. I'm admitting it to you here not to say it was right but to admit that fuck, this was the LAST STRAW dammit.

I did think that.

But then, first before anything else,, I thought about April, and how she had to find Mike after he killed himself, and how crushing that must have been for her, and how hearing about me killing myself would hurt her so much. I think it sounds egotistical because I'm not fucking great or the center of her life or anything, I'm not trying to say that, but I know it would hurt her. So I tamped down my tears and despair and tried to be strong. all through work for her if nothing else I tried to be strong. And then someone needed to leave early and asked me to stay for an hour and I agreed even though I wanted to leave and die, I stayed because I wanted to be strong for her too. and then I got home and something weird occurred to me. I thought that I'd never bothered to read up on wage garnishment.

So I did.

...

So...they can't take $200, at least from me, that creditor was a fucking liar, the most they can take is 15% of my income, which for me is $86 a month and while that will almost wipe me out, I can pay it. And my bills. My heat and electric together on my payment plan will be $60 a month and my rent will be $105 a month and I will barely scrape by with that, but I will survive. I will not just survive, I will live. See, I kept thinking that even if I found some reserves of strength within myself to go on it wouldn't matter because I wouldn't have money to pay my bills and survive so it didn't matter what strength I though I had when I didn't have money to pay my bills if I didn't pay my bills I couldn't live here and I couldn't keep going...but now I know that even though it will be hard, hard as hell like everything else in my life, I'll make it. I'll have money. So the strength needs to come back somehow because fuck, the money is there.

And I haven't told a lot of you this but I'm writing a book, I'm interviewing people and writing about my past and the abuse and my quest for religion and how somehow, for me, this has always tied in with my interest in the macabre and horror movies. I know, everyone's writing a book. But I have 6 pages written in 2 days, I've been able to plow through the writer's block and make myself write and I've already got an introduction and a first chapter and some interviews out and if anyone else wants to answer the questions just let me know. It might not sound like much but to me, writing is everything. It means I'm NOT a waste, I DO have something to say, I DO have a purpose, and I need to keep writing this book because fuck, it's not going to write itself, and the money is there so I have to keep writing because as long as I'm surviving I might as well fucking DO SOMETHING with that time I have on my hands.

I know this may sound disjointed guys, but to me...it's everything. It's the blood in my veins, it's the air I breathe, it's the strength to keep living because it's a PURPOSE. And if I'd given up today, when I wanted to, and not come home and written a chapter and then looked online I might not have found that the money is going to be a hardship but it's not going to wipe me out or kill me. If I'd killed myself on Christmas I wouldn't have even started writing the book at all, and I might have taken April down with me when she found out about me. If I gave into the despair at any point in my life when I've wanted to give up I would have missed so many wonderful things, and I might not have found hope. And no matter what family members or creditors think I'm a worthless piece of shit, I DO have a purpose and I DO have strength and I WILL keep fighting. And I don't intend to stay on wage garnishment the rest of my life, I will finish this book and it will get published and I will pay off my debt and I will write more and publish more and Gloria Paris and my brother and everyone else who said I was worthless can shove it up their ass when I DO survive and thrive and LIVE. But for now, while I'm still here struggling to eat and write and keep breathing, I will have money and I will have hope.

And it makes me so sad that Mike never found that hope. Because he had it, too, I know he did, somewhere, no matter how hard it is to see or to reach I know he had hope. I wish I could have shown him. And my heart feels like it's broken into a million pieces right now and my eyes hurt from the tears, but I'll keep being strong, for April and for my other friends and for my book and for myself. And I just wanted to let you all know that.

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